Principles for co-producing climate services: Practical insights from FRACTAL

Alice McClure, Joe Daron*, Sukaina Bharwani, Richard Jones, Lena Grobusch, Jessica Kavonic, Tamara Janes, Mary Zhang, Erin Hill, Murisa Mzime

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Co-production is increasingly acknowledged as the preferred mode for producing climate services, especially in complex and information-limited decision contexts. This paper contributes knowledge on practices and processes that can enable effective climate services in such contexts, through sharing experiences from the Future Resilience for African CiTies And Lands (FRACTAL) project.

FRACTAL focused on informing actions to tackle climate-related issues in nine cities in six southern African countries over a six-year period and, in parallel, developing research findings and insights. Principles for effectively co-producing climate services were collaboratively identified by the project team, after which practical insights were detailed by analysing the body of evidence produced during FRACTAL using qualitative methods. This analysis helped to understand how principles were engendered, as well as associated challenges.

While many principles identified resonate with the growing body of relevant knowledge, practical insights from this study contribute to understanding ‘how’ principles can be engendered. Experiences emphasise the importance of engaging participants’ emotions, avoiding centring on climate information, using a “third space” to facilitate equitable engagements, directing resources towards having fun and learning actively, process-driven iteration, focusing on contemporary issues with which stakeholders can connect, introducing a pathways framing, and embedding researchers in decision-making contexts. This constitutes a more comprehensive set of principles than was previously available in the literature. Application of these principles and the transdisciplinary framing, which was core to FRACTAL, supports a shift away from a focus on ‘products’ to knowledge co-production ‘processes’ where collaborative learning is the defining characteristic of climate services.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100492
JournalClimate Services
Early online date30 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 May 2024


  • Co-production
  • Climate services
  • Transdisciplinarity


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